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Chapter Twenty


Saturday came sooner than expected, and as I stood in front of my floor-length mirror with my new outfit on, my anxiety started to kick in.

What if people thought I looked ridiculous? Were my boobs too big for this top? Would people call me a whore?

“I can hear you overthinking from here,” a voice said behind me, and goosebumps spread over my arms. Was he here to make fun of me?

“Go away, Noah,” I replied, keeping my eyes on my reflection, not daring to look in his direction.

He let out a long breath before he walked off, softly mumbling. “You look beautiful.”

My heart almost jumped out of my chest, and it scared me how much that little comment stirred inside me. How much I wanted his approval, admiration.

Thinking about the kiss, the way he acted after, I was beyond confused.

Shaking the thoughts from my mind, I straightened out my new skirt, grabbing a scrunchie and tying my hair into a smooth, low bun.

Nodding at my reflection one last time, I made my way downstairs, where Isaac and Noah were waiting for me.

My breath hitched in my throat when my eyes fell on the brooding bad boy, dark shorts revealing strong, tattooed legs, and a black button up on top, the sleeves rolled up to over his elbows.

I hate him.

“Ready?” Isaac asked, giving me a smile. “You look lovely.”

“Thank you,” I replied, following him out of the house.

It was a short walk to the park, and we could hear the music and laughter even before we left our street. It got me a little more excited for tonight, and I was interested to see where some of my old classmates had ended up.

There was still some daylight left, but the few trees near the sand were covered in string lights, ready to be lit when it got dark.

Numerous BBQs were lined up near the grass, and the smell of smokey meat filled my nostrils as we came closer to the crowd.

On the sand, blankets topped with pillows laid scattered around, providing a place to sit for most people, and if I was not mistaken, a few extra picnic tables were added to the field.

“Bella!” I heard next to me, and I snapped my head in the direction of my best friend.

“Maria!” I hugged her quickly, wrapping an arm around her shoulders as we walked to the nearest BBQ, leaving Isaac and Noah forgotten behind.

Ok, not entirely forgotten, since I couldn’t get Noah out of my head.

We grabbed some food and sat on one of the blankets, talking about everything and nothing while we ate.

The real party started a little later.

At about 9 PM, the BBQs were closed and put to the side, making room for a makeshift bar with every drink imaginable.

The lights in the trees were turned on, and the music got a little louder, playing a different beat.

It was weird to see my friends’ parents dancing to some hip-hop song, but nobody really cared tonight.

“What can I get you?” Reed asked. I narrowed my eyes, staring into nothing as I thought. Alcohol or no alcohol?

“Do you think they make mojito’s here?” I asked, looking over at the bar where someone was throwing around bottles as he was pouring drinks, making a little show out of it.

“I’ll ask,” Reed replied with a smile, turning to Maria to ask her.

My gaze wandered off, scanning the crowd.

I saw Kelly, all dressed up in a short skirt and a glittery top, her dark hair falling sleek over her back, the shine alone making me incredibly jealous.

Not too far away I noticed a couple of my old classmates, but I quickly looked away. It was good to see them, but I didn’t really need them to see me.

“Bella!” Isaac grabbed my attention, and I gave him a little wave as he walked up to us, Noah trailing close behind with a cigarette between his fingers.

“Hey. Having fun?” I asked, smiling at him, casually ignoring Noah.

“I...” he trailed off, his eyes catching Kelly’s back as she walked past. “I am.”

I rolled my eyes. “Kelly!”

Isaac fisted my arm, hissing something into my ear but the damage had already been done.

“Bella,” she said when she joined us, swirling her wine in her glass.

“Do you remember my brother?” I chirped, gesturing to Isaac, whose cheeks were about as red as Kelly’s lips.

“Of course,” she replied, nodding to Isaac. She looked bored, but over the last couple of days, I had come to understand that that was just who she was. or how she looked.

As she shook Isaac’s hand, she grinned. “Good to see you again.”

“Here you go,” Reed said when he returned with our drinks, hesitation in his step when he met Noah’s death stare.

I ignored it, pushing Noah out of my way as I reached for my drink. “Thanks, Reed.”

Sipping my mojito, I listened to the music, the people around us, noticing that the air around us suddenly got very tense.

Isaac was staring at Kelly, who wore her usual bored expression, and Noah was looking Reed up and down, looking like he would jump him at any second.

“Well...” Maria said, obviously just as uncomfortable as I was.

“This was fun.” Kelly turned around and walked away, Isaac’s eyes in her back. I was confident that she knew, especially when she exaggerated the sway of her hips.

“Uhm...yeah. Anyway, Reed,” Isaac spoke finally, trying to get the conversation going again. “How about you come for dinner soon?”

I mean it could be fun, I liked Reed, but the way Noah stormed off, pulling another cigarette from his pack, I liked more.

Maybe he was jealous.

I wouldn’t say I was head over heels in love with the guy, but it felt good to feel this desirable. Like I was some prize.

Never had anyone made me feel that way.

“Yes, of course,” Reed replied, reminding me that we were kinda having a conversation.

“Fun!” I cheered, unsure how to act.

Maria frowned at me, cocking her head to the side before looking back, watching Noah disappear in the crowd.

Before she could say anything, I grabbed her wrist and pulled her with me in the opposite direction, where I downed my drink and asked for another.

It was getting pretty late when I stopped drinking. Or, when one look from Maria made me stop drinking.

“Ok, well,” I said, rising from the bench we were sitting in with a few guys we just met. “I’m going to get myself an Iced Tea.”

Maria gave me a quick nod, before diving back into conversation with both of the men, and I shook my head.

Halfway to the bar, I changed my mind and headed to the toilets instead, the little cabin somewhat concluded but well lit.

They were nasty, but doing my business in the bushes was something for drunk-Bellamy. Not tipsy-Bellamy.

I thoroughly washed my hands when I was done, grabbing my empty cup to head back to the party.

“Bellamy.” Noah’s voice was hoarse as he called my name, walking around the corner.

He startled me, and I couldn’t help but let out a small gasp when he came up to me, backing me against the wall. “Noah?”

I could smell the beer on his breath mixed with his cologne, and it was the most intoxicating scent ever, almost making my knees buckle. Or that was because of the man himself, no idea.

“Why do you drive me crazy, Goldilocks?” He brought his face closer, leaning one arm on the wall behind me.

The question wasn’t really directed at me—at least I didn’t think so—so I kept quiet, waiting for his next move.

“Why do you look like this," he whispered, his eyes hooded as he studied my face.

My cheeks heated up and I swallowed hard, my mouth suddenly very dry.

“I don’t know what—”

He didn’t let me finish, brushing the fingers of his free hand over my cheek. “And you don’t even realize it.”

I felt shy under his gaze, nervous about his proximity, and I couldn’t help but admire the beautiful green in his eyes.

I knew that he was lying the other day.

Of course, when he told me it was nothing, that the kiss was nothing, I felt heartbroken, but by the way he had been acting around me, I started to doubt his statement.

But what was he scared of?

“Noah,” I breathed out, pressing my palms into the wall behind me so I wouldn’t press them into something else.

Something softer, warmer.

“Oh, God, you’re making it worse.” He punched the wall behind me, ripping himself away and turning to storm off.

I let out a long breath, my eyes following the man until he was out of sight, and I sorted myself out before I made my way back to the party—slightly out of breath.

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